100 Years Since Susan B - Consider the Anthony
Legacy
Susan B. Anthony History Conference
Daughters of Susan B.

"I wonder if when I am under the sod—or cremated and floating in the air—I shall have to stir you and others up. How can you not be all on fire? ...I really believe I shall explode if some of you young women don't wake up."
Susan B. Anthony, 1898

Anthony died on March 13, 1906. 2006 marked 100 years since she left her life's dreams in our hands. Would she still feel a need to stir us up?

In 2006, we sponsored programs and events throughout the region to examine where we started, celebrate how far we've come and work to clear remaining barriers to women's progress.

Women in the 21st Century: Where Are We Now?
Women won the vote in 1920. But for Anthony, suffrage was a means, not an end. She hoped that along with the right to vote would come "a far higher manhood and womanhood than we have now." She looked for the day when "the only criterion of excellence or position shall be the ability, honor, and character of the individual without regard to whether he or she be male or female."

A century later, the best evidence is that we're not there yet. Women are just 15.1% of 535 members of Congress (www.cawp.rutgers.edu) and hold 15.7% of the Fortune 500's corporate officer positions (www.catalyst.org). In New York's county legislatures and city councils, women hold 17.8% of elected positions. (See ACWL survey, Where Are the Women? (pdf).)

Education
"The real reason that men don't want girls in their colleges is this: They are ashamed to be beaten by them. As a little boy told me once, it makes him feel so darn mean."
Anthony in an interview, 1891

Anthony also fought long and hard for co-education, finally winning women admission to the University of Rochester in 1900. As much as she wanted women to realize all their gifts, she wanted even more to transform men's relationship to women by eliminating stereotypes. Educating women alongside men would mean that, "man may learn from boyhood that woman is his intellectual equal and no longer look upon her as inferior."

Today's good news is that women and men have equal access to higher education. In fact, women are a majority of undergraduate classes and, according to the National Science Foundation, for the first time in 2001-02, American women earned more doctorates than American men.

As the Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 2004, "At first glance, higher education today might seem like a woman's world." But, "The higher up the academic-prestige ladder a university is, the fewer women it usually has in tenured faculty positions. Research released this year shows that while the nation is doing a good job of turning out women with research doctorates, the top 50 institutions in research spending are not doing such a good job of hiring them." (Chronicle of Higher Education, "Where the Elite Teach, It's Still a Man's World," by Robin Wilson, December 3, 2004.)

The Chronicle article speculates, "Some professors contend that although blatant sex discrimination appears to be a thing of the past, a complicated array of subtle biases still keeps women out of top institutions."

2005 research by Catalyst, "Women 'Take Care,' Men 'Take Charge" (pdf) looks further into the "subtle biases": "women and men senior executives have the same ambition and employ similar success strategies; yet, the gender gap in business leadership persists. Why? Women executives report that they face an additional layer of cultural and environmental barriers. Chief among these is stereotyping"

Anthony once commented that even after laws had been changed to enfranchise woman, "ancient prejudices" might keep her from standing equally beside man. If her spirit has escaped the sod of Mt. Hope Cemetery, maybe she's the one inspiring more of us to understand the more subtle mechanisms that keep women from leading.

Participating Organizations
Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, Local History Division
Career Development Services
Hochstein School of Music & Dance
Latinas Unidas
The Susan B. Anthony House
Sojourner House
Rochester Women's Network
YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County
Eastman School of Music: Women in Music Festival 2006
Eastman School of Music: Concerts and Events
Department of Rare Books & Special Collections, Rush Rhees Library, University of Rochester
Writers and Books
Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender & Women's Studies
Eastman Community Music School
Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery
Memorial Art Gallery
Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys
The George Eastman House
WXXI

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